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September - 2008 - issue > Editor's Desk
Where’s the answer for piracy?
Pradeep Shankar
Thursday, September 4, 2008
It is difficult to find. Studies show that losses due to software piracy in India rose to $2 billion in 2007. Piracy rate currently in India stands at 69 percent even after several efforts by the government and multinational vendors to encourage the use of legitimate software and to eliminate the piracy software distribution channel. It’s a global phenomenon. Often it is said that accessibility to legitimate software, lack of awareness and affordability are the main reasons for rampant piracy. But the reality is quite different.
Let me narrate two instances. At the recently held Nasscom Product Conclave one of the speakers asked, “How many know where to buy a legal copy of Microsoft?” In an audience of 300, comprising of CEOs, senior executives and venture capitalists, there were hardly any hands that went up. “That’s the answer for piracy!” exclaimed the speaker.

A few months back while I was chatting with a senior executive from Adobe, he pointed out that the company spends thousands of dollars to create a vibrant community by way of organizing several workshops across the country. After attending such workshops, designers go back and buy a pirated version of Adobe’s new products! So where is the question of not being aware?
Finally, is everything in India to do with right pricing? Probably not. We do not mind going to a multiplex, eat outs and shell out $100 or so each month. We don’t mind buying an expensive mobile gadget with really cool features. But what happens when it comes to buying genuine software despite having sound purchasing capability? Certainly, it’s not really the question of affordability.

So where is the real issue of piracy? Why consumers prefer pirated ones? Are they used to it? Perhaps, it’s time for technology leaders to innovate around technology or business model instead of spending time analyzing the psyche of the Indian consumer. May be, they have to begin it from the scratch again.

Do let us know what you think.

Pradeep Shankar Managing Editor editor@siliconindia.com

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